Supersonic Vagabond


I thought the song Super Massive Black Hole by Muse was called Supersonic Vagabond and I’ve always been vaguely disappointed that it’s not.

This post has nothing to do with music or misheard lyrics. Other than supersonic kind of describes this goddamn anxiety that I cannot shake. I can’t fucking shake it. It’s been months and months since I’ve had relief. I have moments of reprieve, but the anxiety pops up every day.

So, this is me, not fighting it anymore.

I’m tired.

I don’t want to feel anxious, but I do. I am tired of railing against it and powering through. I’m tired of feeling like my life is nothing more than waiting. I’m tired of waiting to feel better. Perhaps it’s time to accept that the anxiety has no plans on moving on and I need to makes some peace with it.

I know anxiety isn’t funny. For fuck’s sake, I know it’s not funny.

That doesn’t mean when I examine some of my more extreme episodes that they aren’t just a tiny bit funny.

I called my mom tonight to chat. I don’t often tell her about feeling anxious or depressed, even though I know she understands it. We’re not a lot alike, but in ways we are. I come from a long line of depressed and anxious people. Still, one of my jobs is to protect my mother from unpleasantness. I have failed horribly, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try.

As we were chatting, I told her about feeling anxious and when I told her about an episode that had happened, she laughed her ass off and said “Oh, Shell. You should write about that. That is hysterical.”

It would have never occurred to me to write this down.

Last week, Randy got sick. Not scary sick, but sick enough to keep him up all night. Randy rarely gets sick, so for him to be up all night isn’t normal. Since Randy was up all night, that means I was up all night. I am an extraordinarily light sleeper, him just shifting in bed can wake me up. Hearing multiple queries about what kind of medicine we have in the house will definitely wake me up.

I still had to go to work in the morning. I am not good without sleep. When I’m anxious and tired, well, the crazy comes out to play like a little kid wearing rains boots with infinite puddles to jump in.

Randy, bless his heart, was sound asleep when I left for work. I would like to say that I smiled gently and made sure he was tucked in before I left. What happened was, I glared at him for a minute, sighed and said really, motherfucker? under my breath as I left the house.

Randy is an insomniac as well. Our rhythms are not in sync. He usually falls asleep a few hours before I do and wakes up at ungodly hours in the morning. I am usually arguing with myself about staying up too late between 11:00 pm and Midnight.

The point is, I could probably count the number of times I’ve known Randy to sleep past 9:00 am on one hand.

I waited until after 10:00 am to text him to see how he was feeling.

No response.

At 10:30, I tried again.


I called his phone at 11:00 am and he didn’t answer.

I went from kind of worried to crazy person. Only I was a quiet crazy person. I was at work, locked away behind my cubicle wall. I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure this is reasonably close to my train of thought.

Okay. Well. Randy is dead. 

You fucking knew he was sick. It wasn’t his stomach for fuck’s sake, it was his heart. He was having a goddamn heart attack and you were annoyed because you couldn’t sleep. Then you LEFT the house. What the fuck? You should have taken him to the hospital. You wouldn’t be a widow now. 

Oh god, this is bad. What am I going to do without Randy? What am I going to tell my kids? His grandkids won’t even remember him. Those poor babies. They are going to miss out on so much.

I usually eat lunch at my desk at 11:30. I looked at the time on my phone. 11:10. I would wait until 11:30 and drive home and probably find Randy’s corpse.

I had to take a number of deep breaths to keep the hysterical tears at bay. Even though I was terribly anxious, I could still imagine how that would play out.

I would put my forehead against my desk and start crying hysterically and this is the conversation that would take place.

Coworker: Oh my god, Michelle! What is wrong?

Me: Randy is dead. 

Coworker: Dead? What happened? 

Me: He had a heart attack.

Coworker: Did your son call you? Is he in the hospital?

Me: No, no one called. He’s at home in our bed and he’s dead. 

Coworker: I don’t understand, how did you find out?

Me: Well, I’m pretty sure he’s dead. He didn’t answer my texts. 

And with that, I would go from ‘mostly quiet, standoffish new girl’ to ‘batshit crazy computer programmer who no one should ever be alone with because damn’.

I felt like I was moving through molasses as I pulled my car keys out of my bag. There was no point in waiting for lunch. My lunch hour was no longer a lunch hour, it was beginning of trying to find a way to live my life without the love of my life.

Then my phone rang.

Randy: Hey baby. 

Me: I’m glad you’re not dead. 

Randy is actually used to me and knew exactly what happened.

Randy: Oh, you must have been texting me.

Me: Are you feeling better? Do you think you had a heart attack? Should we go to the hospital? I was going to come home anyway.

Randy: I’m fine. I feel a lot better. I just needed to rest. 

Me: Really, motherfucker? 

I knew he had been up all night and it was completely reasonable that he sleep for a few hours. It is also true that people do have heart attacks and die. For a few minutes, I went from considering a plausible but unlikely scenario to being completely sure that the worst had happened.

My anxiety finds these episodes enjoyable. I do not.

Perhaps, though, other people find themselves jumping off the anxiety deep end sometimes. If so, I am here to tell you that you are not alone.

Or is it just me?







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  • No, it isn’t just you. I’m also a member of the ‘worst case scenario must be the logical explanation’ club. It also occurs to me that when my mind starts to do that I never feel like running it past someone, (probably saner than me), who could assuage my fears, so my subconscious probably knows it’s not logical in the first place, but chooses to hide that from me in those moments.
    Anxiety sucks, depression lies, stress will shorten our lives.
    As the immortal Peggy Lee sang ‘let’s break out the booze and have a ball’

  • It’s not just you, although some of us have very low levels of anxiety that result in not dealing with serious things as quickly as we should. There must be a happy medium.

    You’ve also reminded me of the time my father woke up in the middle of the night and thought he was having a heart attack. He sat there quietly thinking, “Well, this is it. It’s been a nice life.” He knew better than to wake up my mother because he knew the response would be a lot worse than just “Really, motherfucker?”

    It turned out to just be reflux.

  • You are definitely not alone. I do this crazy shit all of the time you just have a better grasp at writing about it than I do. I’ve tried everything and like you I’m just tired. I just need rest from saving us from certain disaster over and over and over!

  • Ha ha, I know exactly what you were dealing with. I was married to dainty little police officer in the 90’s (no cell phone) and she worked the night shift (the only way to get hold of her was to call dispatch and wait until she got to a phone). More nights than I can recall I would wake up at 2:00 am sure that some big bad man did something terrible to her. I would call dispatch and would sometimes have to wait hours for her to get back to me.

    In the mean time, I would have the speech that I would give her mom and my parents planned, what I would say at the memorial service, how would I behave in court when the big bad man would go on trial, decide whether I would talk to the media about the trial, do I keep the cats and dog, what about the house?

    And when she would come home safe in the morning, I would be like “oh really motherfucker? You’re just going to walk around like all of that didn’t happen”?

  • My husband has begun occasionally cycling to work now that the weather’s better. He’s told me horror stories before about cars running red lights/stop signs and almost/actually hitting him on his bike in the past, which he really shouldn’t have because now every time he’s more than five minutes late getting home I start assuming he’s wedged under someone’s front bumper.

  • Voice in the back of Randy’s head: “Well at least she’s glad I’m not dead; it could be worse…”

  • No you are not alone. It is not just you because apparently there is enough anxiety for it to be shared ALL over the place.
    New medication seems to be helping. That and saying NO to ever invitation I get.

    So now I am not as anxious, but more reclusive.

    win win.

  • It’s totally not just you.

    There was the time Tim didn’t come home from work at the normal time. The later it got the more worried I got. It before cell phones (well, before WE had cell phones). I called him at work and he didn’t answer. I called his kids’ house because maybe he was over there (and I sounded as nonchalant as possible). I called work again. It was summer so he was riding his motorcycle to work every day. The later it got the worse it got. I started imagining that the phone was going to ring and it would be the cops…or maybe they’d come to the door. “There’s been an accident.” I imagined having to call his kids and tell them…or maybe I’d have to tell his ex first and then go over there and tell them. I imagined calling is father and stepmother, his siblings, etc. I imagined having to call his boss the next day…and then it dawns on me. He had told me about a meeting he was going to after work. And I just rolled my eyes at my damn self.

    Oh, and P.S. Tim puking makes me more anxious these days than worrying about him on his motorcycle. If he’s sick in any way shape or form, I’m sleeping in the other room!!

  • Not just you. I have offed my husband numerous times. Sometimes when he is right beside me. That man has more lives than a cat!
    Please take care of yourself. Is there someone you can go and see? A doctor maybe? I really am worried about you.

    • You are so sweet. 🙂

      I have actually dealt with this for most of my life. It’s just peaking right now…but I’ll be fine. I do get anti anxiety meds but I don’t take them a lot because they make me sleepy.

  • I don’t have any advice, just a virtual hug. I suffer from anxiety and I go through similar experiences where it is so out of control and my brain has convinced me that the worst possible scenario has happened (i.e. your “Randy is dead” line of thinking) and it’s near impossible to snap out of it. Damn. What’s hard is that my hubby says things like “calm down” or “stop being anxious” or “it’s just your anxiety talking, stop it” and it’s like…that’s now how it works! You can’t just say “calm down” or “it’s ok” and the anxiety just disappears!! UGH!

  • I know EXACTLY of what you speak. I woke up the other morning and the Husband’s side of the bed was untouched. I just KNEW, with no doubt at all, that after I had gone to bed the night before he had a heart attack in the living room. It took me about 15 minutes to get up the courage to get out of bed and check on him.

    He was fine. Apparently, he’d fallen asleep on the couch for a bit. And was wide awake when he woke up.

  • First, I have to say that anxiety is not funny. At all. I know this from experience, as you know. So, it is with all the love in my heart that I tell you I am not laughing at you but you seriously had me at ‘Really, motherfucker?’
    I cannot tell you how many times I have lived this scenario in my head when my husband has been out of town and I can’t reach him. He doesn’t always text me when a plane lands or call when he gets to the hotel and there’s always that anxious bitch of a knot in my gut and voice in my head that tells me any minute someone will knock on the door and tell me he’s dead. I worry myself sick.
    Then he calls and I start mourning all the things I could have done with the insurance money.
    I’m sorry you’re having a rough time. God, I hate anxiety. Talk about ‘Really, motherfucker???’
    Hang in there, my friend.

  • It’s typically the other way around. Typically. If I say, go grocery shopping after work but don’t call/text first, depending on timing, I’ll get a call or text that’s like “What’s going on?”

    But, sometimes, if he hasn’t gotten home on time (because unlike me he always gets home on time) I text to make sure everything is copacetic. If I don’t get an answer then, I call. If I don’t get an answer THEN is when I start wondering what to say to the hospital and police….

  • For the last twenty years I have been expecting to find my husband dead on the toilet, because honestly, he takes forever in there. On some level, I must believe that he is Elvis. Just as long as I can hear him farting, I know he’s okay.

  • I don’t have anxiety, well no more than your average human but I do stay up almost every night worrying about the many ways my children can die and then worrying that they are not really upstairs sleeping but actually at least one of them is already dead and that my poor child will have to walk in to the other child’s room to find them blue and dead in the morning and then I’ll have one dead child and one permanently traumatized child and I will NEVER recover. And it goes on like that until I start thinking about knitting projects (my version of counting sheep) so I can finally get some fucking sleep already.

  • Oh, my gosh, I couldn’t help but belt out a huge laugh when you said ‘..who no one should be alone with because damn’. *wipes tear*

    I SO hear you, and I know exactly how you feel. Here’s my story:

    Shane works alone with heavy and very dangerous equipment all day, several different kinds, (ONE of which actually caused a man to now be a full hand-amputee, for real, because of OUR MACHINE, which Shane uses every day. And that’s the SAFER machine. o.m.f.g.)

    So on any given day, ANY time I text him and he doesn’t answer after like 20 minutes, I have a small place in my brain that starts saying, “He could be dead. He’s probably dead. He could have fallen out of his seat and onto that 60 INCH REVOLVING SAW BLADE that is running 2 FEET FROM HIS HEAD and been ripped to pieces and no one knows. Oh my God he’s dead. Something happened. But I can’t go over there because I can’t stand the sight of blood so how can I go check, but how can I NOT go check? I’m not ready to be a widow. I’ll become a hermit. With no income.”


    I also know that he is very safe and very smart, and he’s just busy and can’t hear his phone, so to frantically text him will just interrupt his work but still. That could happen. What if I assume he’s FINE for like 4 hours and then find out that I could have saved him if I’d known something happened to him 4 hours ago, but it’s too late because I assumed he was FINE. So I will eventually text a “U OK??” and I’ll usually get answer “Y”. But there have been days when the sun goes down and I realize I haven’t heard from him since like 1 pm and then I start to freak all the way out.

    I’ve actually called his brother and had HIM go over to the log yard and make sure Shane’s OK. He always is, but still. One time he actually WASn’t, and he got hurt pretty bad, and thankfully his brother was nearby and got him to the hospital. Twice, actually… And then his brother got hurt, too, and would have bled to death if Shane hadn’t been there with a handy boot lace/tourniquet. (it’s making me feel anxious just remembering this)

    So, no, you’re not alone. And I hate your anxiety, for you, too. There’s like a fairly large gang who hate your anxiety for you, if that helps. 🙂

  • Can I join the club too? My anxiety attacks seem to be different, in that they are rarely triggered by any kind of event or thinking or whatever. Sometimes I’ll just be watching TV and BAM – adrenaline tsunami. I guess they are more like epileptic fits in that way. Of course being stressed doesn’t help. Anyway, what I wanted to say is: I hope you get some relief soon. *hugs*

  • …I recently tried to resign as president of the Universal Society of Overthinkers … It didn’t work…
    My husband is 57… he runs 3 times a week… usually for around 46.7 minutes… if it gets to 47.2, I’m out there in the car checking ditches by the side of the road…
    3 times a week
    For 28 years…

  • Is it wrong to feel excited that I totally identified with everything you said?
    I’ve always had anxiety but since my partner, Ian, had seizures I’ve been a total wreck. When he goes fishing I have to restrain myself from calling/stalking him. I imagine him dead in the canal or on the bank and freak out about how I’ll tell his mom. Then he comes home all smiles and I’m so with the “really motherfucker?” Could he not have checked his texts once in the eleventy seven hours he was gone? (Probably more like 5 or 6). Damn anxiety and the meds make me tired too.

  • I don’t know where, when or how it happened but I’ve come a long way since my anxious-days in my mid-to-late-20s. I’d freak out over the stupidest shit. One time, when my 1st husband & I were separated, my father came rushing over because I was in hysterics over the phone. I hadn’t heard from a close friend and disappointment turned to worry turned to freaking THE FUCK out.

    I’m sure my dad thought I was crazy but he offered to help me find my friend anyway. Turned out friend was NOT dead, but away for the weekend with family.

    Nowadays my attitude is more like, ‘whatever. I don’t care’. And I truly don’t; which might not be that fantastic either but it makes me laugh when my IDGAF attitude frustrates people.

  • Nah, it’s definitely not you. I do the same thing but with my son. That’s how I always know my stress has reached peak level–I become convinced that something has happened to him to the point that I’m in tears.

By Michelle

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